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Five steps to keeping your business productive during the World Cup

The UK is about to go football crazy when the World Cup kicks off next month. Employers who want to ensure that their business remains productive should follow our five top tips.

Clarify your annual leave policy

There is no statutory entitlement for time off to watch football! Employers should remind employees about their annual leave policy, procedures for taking time off and the amount of notice required. It is important to decide on how to deal with requests – first come, first served or based on work needs?

If an employer’s leave policy is silent or non-existent, the Working Time Regulations 1998 apply and an employee must give notice equivalent to twice the number of days they wish to take off.

Consider restructuring the day

Temporary flexible working can help maintain productivity while keeping employees happy. This would allow an employee to work different hours or to make up missed hours on the other days.

Another option is to move rest breaks. However the Working Time Regulations stipulate rest breaks when daily working time exceeds six hours. Employers may allow their employees to take a shorter lunch break and leave early but should not allow employees to take all of their breaks at the end of the working day or shift if they have particularly demanding jobs or are in safety critical roles.

Beware of sickies

Should you pay employees who don’t come in? If their contract includes the right to sick pay, an employer may face claims if they refuse to pay up. If there is no contractual scheme, an employee can fall back on statutory sick pay which leaves the first three days of sickness unpaid. If the employer suspects the sickness isn’t genuine, they face the tricky task of trying to assess the truth. Return to work interviews can be useful to ensure that the employee sits down with a manager to explain his absence.

Consider installing a TV

Allowing employees to watch matches in their workplace can foster good relations. You could also plan it as an after work team-building exercise.

Alcohol should be banned if employees are returning to work afterwards. Even if they aren’t employers can be held vicariously liable for an employee’s conduct if personal injury results.

Review your internet policy

Staff may want to use office computers to watch the game or track the score which can affect productivity. Make sure you have a clear policy that spells out what is and isn’t acceptable.

Contact a specialist employment solicitor

For more information, please contact a member of our employment & HR team, or contact us online.